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Questions often abound as FBAR filing deadline approaches

The filing deadline for income tax returns is one of the rites of spring in American life. The vernal equinox, Easter and the NCAA basketball tournament are among the others. Easter is a movable feast whose date varies, but the tax filing deadline usually falls on April 15. 

To be sure, the ritual of getting to be post office has waned in importance with the increase in e-filing. But the income tax return filing deadline remains a significant one in American life.

But it is not the only significant tax filing deadline. For taxpayers in Texas and across the nation who hold foreign bank accounts, the deadline for filing the Report of Foreign and Financial Accounts is fast approaching. That report, widely known as the FBAR, is due on June 30.

The FBAR must be filed for accounts valued at more than $10,000 at any time during the year. $10,000 is certainly a nice round number. But the requirements regarding who must file are not always straightforward.

For example, the IRS says that an FBAR must be filed not only by a person with a financial interest in an offshore account that exceeds the $10,000 threshold. The filing requirement also applies to those with signature authority over such accounts.

It should also be noted that the term "person" includes more than merely individuals. It can also include various organizations and entities. Indeed, it can even apply to trusts and estates.

The rather broad term "signature authority" also naturally raises questions. The application of the filing requirement to investment advisers, money managers and other financial professionals is by no means always clear.

Source: Tax Connections, "FBAR's - With The June 30th Deadline Quickly Approaching,, Here Is Your Latest IRS FBAR News And Updates!," Ronald Marini, June 3, 2013

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